5-Star Book Reviews: Historical Fiction

Amazon.com: Skill & Courage - Signal Corps US Army - 1942 - World War II - Propaganda Poster: Posters & PrintsWe continue our series of posts featuring some of the best books in the CA Library collection — today’s featured titles are all in the Historical Fiction genre. Follow the links for each book to learn more from the CA Library catalog!

All The Days Past, All The Days To Come by Mildred D. Taylor — The saga of the Logan family — made famous in the Newbery Medal-winning Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry — concludes in a long-awaited and deeply fulfilling story. From the 1940s to the 1960s, Cassie Logan journeys around the country, ultimately returning home to Mississippi where she witnesses the Great Migration north and the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. “A memorable heroine and her keen sense of injustice propel this satisfying conclusion to a landmark family saga” (Publishers Weekly). Borrow the ebook

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed — With the Rodney King riots of 1992 Los Angeles closing in on high school senior Ashley and her family, the privileged bubble she has enjoyed, protecting her from the difficult realities most black people face, begins to crumble. “This story may be a work of historical fiction, but its relevance to today’s social and political events adds to its eye-opening power, making it a novel that demands to be read” (Booklist). Borrow the ebook | Borrow the audiobook

Kent State by Deborah Wiles — This novel in verse, told from different points of view — protesters, students, National Guardsmen, and “townies” — recounts the story of what happened at Kent State in May 1970, when four college students were killed by National Guardsmen, and a student protest was turned into a bloody battlefield. “The extensive author’s note extends the narrative, engaging readers in the author’s process and the story’s impact. A well-researched and deeply moving portrait of an iconic moment in U.S. history” (Kirkus Reviews). Borrow the ebook | Borrow the audiobook

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong — In 1926 Shanghai, eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, heir of the Scarlet Gang, and her first love-turned-rival Roma Montagov, leader of the White Flowers, must work together when mysterious deaths threaten their city. “This exciting debut brings readers to 1920s Shanghai — in the wake of the Opium Wars and the rise of communism — and an unforgettable reimagining of Romeo and Juliet” (Booklist). Borrow the ebook | Borrow the audiobook

They Went Left by Monica Hesse — Zofia, a teenage Holocaust survivor, travels across post-war Europe as she searches for her younger brother and seeks to rebuild her shattered life. “Hesse intertwines historical fact with masterful storytelling that allows readers to embrace the characters and relate to them without forgetting the heaviness of the time period. Readers interested in historical fiction, romance, and mystery will not be able to put this book down” (School Library Journal). Borrow the ebook | Borrow the audiobook

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough — In Renaissance Italy, Artemisia Gentileschi endures the subjugation of women that allows her father to take credit for her extraordinary paintings, rape and the ensuing trial, and torture, buoyed by her deceased mother’s stories of strong women of the Bible. “With dazzling surrealist overtones, McCullough manages to vividly capture a singularly brave, resilient feminist who became an icon during a time when women had almost no agency. A captivating and impressive book about a timeless heroine” (Booklist). Borrow the audiobook

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee — 1890, Atlanta. By day, seventeen-year-old Chinese American Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel Caroline Payne, the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. But by night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for ‘the genteel Southern lady’. “Unflinching in its portrayals of racism yet ultimately hopeful and heartfelt, this narrative places voices frequently left out of historical fiction center stage” (School Library Journal). Borrow the audiobook

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys — At the Castellana Hilton in 1957 Madrid, eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson connects with Ana Moreno through photography and fate as Daniel discovers the incredibly dark side of the city under the fascist dictatorship of Generalissimo Franco. “Meticulous research is presented through believable, complex characters on the brink of adulthood who personalize the questions we all must answer about our place in the world. A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience” (Kirkus Reviews). Borrow the ebook | Borrow the audiobook

White Rose by Kip Wilson — A gorgeous and timely novel based on the incredible story of Sophie Scholl, a young German college student who challenged the Nazi regime during World War II as part of The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group. “Illuminating back matter on the real-life Sophie and the White Rose movement adds additional context to this strong addition to the canon of WWII fiction” (Publishers Weekly).

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe — Follows Dita Kraus from age fourteen, when she is put in charge of a few forbidden books at Auschwitz concentration camp, through the end of World War II and beyond. Based on a true story. “Like Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, it’s a sophisticated novel with mature themes, delivering an emotionally searing reading experience. An important novel that will stand with other powerful testaments from the Holocaust era” (Booklist). Borrow the ebook | Borrow the audiobook

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